An ‘Unforgettable’ assignment: The Added Value of a Well Structured Photoshoot

Two women walking past the white windmill at Thorpeness

A photoshoot is often seen as a moment in time, a collection of images that tell the story of a day or an event. But, as we’ll explore in this blog, it can be so much more than that which is where having a thorough brief adds benefits. A well executed photoshoot can be a remarkable means of storytelling and has the potential to build extensive visual libraries, providing lasting value far beyond the initial click of the camera.

‘Suffolks Unforgettable Garden Story’ is a joint venture brought to life by The Gardens Trust and Historic England that aims to discover, celebrate and protect historic parks, gardens and landscapes in Suffolk.

The county is home to a mere 23 historic green spaces officially protected and featured on the prestigious National Heritage List for England. A key objective of The Gardens Trust in this endeavour was to engage with local communities, developing connections and offering volunteers the research skills, knowledge, and support necessary to participate in this ambitious 18-month project.

As a ‘thank you’ to these dedicated volunteers, The Trust organised a delightful, guided heritage walk through charming Thorpeness. And the ‘Cherry’ on top – I had the distinct honour of being chosen as the official photographer to capture this remarkable day.

One of the aspects that made this assignment particularly enjoyable and efficient was the clear and comprehensive brief provided by The Gardens Trust. Their instructions not only enabled me to meet their objectives but also allowed me to maximise my time and creativity. As important as it was to photograph the guests in these beautiful surroundings, it was also about capturing the warmth and camaraderie that defined these volunteers, the backbone of the Garden Story project.

In addition to documenting the event itself, The Trust aimed to compile a valuable library of stock images featuring both people and landscapes. These photos would serve as a resource for their internal archives and also provide material for their website and broader communications. This approach emphasised that photographs are more than just fleeting commodities; they are a valuable record of stories and emotions that can be revisited and shared for years to come.

The detailed brief ensured we didn’t miss a beat, making every moment count, allowing me to focus on capturing the images that truly mattered.

It was evident from the beginning that respecting the privacy and preferences of the volunteers was paramount. Every participant was given prior notice about the presence of a photographer and those who chose not to be photographed I discreetly identified to respect their wishes.

Throughout the day, I aimed for a perfect balance between candid, spontaneous, ‘in the moment’ shots and well-orchestrated group photos. The result? A treasure chest of over 100 images, available in both high and low-resolution formats, ready to tell the story.

These are more than photos; they’re cherished memories of a day filled with history, friendship and the timeless beauty of Suffolk’s landscapes. They’re our shared journey to preserve and celebrate Suffolk’s unique parks and gardens.

What’s truly special about this project isn’t just its mission but how it reveals the incredible impact of a well-structured photoshoot. Having a clear and comprehensive brief is the secret ingredient that lets a photographer turn brief moments into enduring visual treasures.

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